Gulf and Ranges Optometrists - Your eyes are for life, see clearly

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Gulf and Ranges Optometrists - Latest News

Latest News

How's your Macula?

January 10, 2018 | Mitch Hancock

Did you know Macular Degeneration (MD) is the leading cause of blindness in Australia?

MD is commonly age related and most frequently affects people over the age of 50. One in seven people over the age of 50 are affected by the disease and the numbers increase with age. Macular Degeneration is sometimes referred to as Age Related Macular Degeneration or "AMD".

MD is a degenerative disease of the central retina (the macula) that causes progressive, painless loss of central vision. MD affects the ability to see fine details, read, drive a car, and recognise faces.

Although there is no known cure for MD, depending on the type of disease, there are treatments that can slow the progression. Regular check-ups are important and new advanced technologies (i.e. OCT scan) also assist much earlier detection of the more aggressive forms of MD. The earlier the detection, the more vision you are likely to retain.

Who should be tested:

  • If you are over 50 years of age, and/or
  • Have a family history of Macular Degeneration, and/or
  • Have Diabetes


  • Regular eye examinations will help in early detection
  • Have an OCT scan (Optical Coherence Tomography gives 3D image behind your retina)
  • Eat a healthy diet, low cholesterol, rich in omega 3, lots of vegetables especially the green leafy type.
  • Don't smoke
  • Wear good quality well fitted sunglasses
  • Discuss supplements with your Optometrist

Remember, Macular Degeneration is Painless and so vision change in either eye is the key symptom. To get your Macular checked, phone 8642 2766 to make an appointment today.

Sun versus Your Eyes

December 27, 2017 | Mitch Hancock

Most people realise the importance of protecting their skin against the harmful effects of UV light and use protection when outdoors. What most people do not realise is that damage is being done to your delicate eyes every time they are exposed to UV light. Unlike your skin, your eyes cannot repair themselves and once damage has been done it is permanent.

It is important to protect your eyes with sunglasses all year round. Although the harmful effects are 3 times greater in the summer, you still need to wear protection in the winter months.

Exposure to these harmful rays without Eye Protection can lead to:

  • Cataracts - Cloudiness that forms in the lens of the eye
  • Pterygium - Tissue growth on the whites of the eye
  • Skin Cancer near the eyes
  • Photokeratitis - Sunburn of the Cornea

To protect yourself from the suns harmful rays, good quality sunglasses should be worn every time you are enjoying the outdoors during the day. UV rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm, so it is very important to wear protective eye-wear during this time.

Everyone is susceptible to damage from the sun but there are a few groups that have a higher risk of serious effects from the sun. These include children under 10 years as their eyes are not able to stop as much UV damage to the retina as an adult.

Other groups with a higher than average risk of damage from the sun include:

  • People with Retinal disorders
  • Cataract surgery patients
  • People taking medications which increase glare sensitivity
  • People with lighter pigmented eyes

For a full eye health examination where we can address any concerns,
contact Gulf & Ranges Optometrists for an appointment today.

Nepal Annapurna Eye Aid program - Food, Farewells and the Future

December 8, 2017

The last few days of walking on consisted of about four hours of walking a daily. What goes up must come down, right? While there were some ups, it was mainly a lot of steep downward treks, but the knees and ankles held up well.  After 12 days of not seeing a road, vehicle track or car it was slightly absurd yet sad to see the first track and later a 4wd vehicle. 

Dinners were mostly vegetarian and usually provided by the guest house family kitchen. Nearly every family grew their own vegetables and most of our meals were sourced from their gardens. It was common to see veggies being collected from the garden and heading to the basic kitchen’s for preparation.  The locals have at least 2 of 3 meals being dahl baht, daily. Dahl baht usually consist of thali like meals with main component being lentil curry soup.  The other components were a mildly spicy vegetable curry (usually potatoes plus selection of choko, carrot, onion, garlic, peas, or beans depending on what was available), pan cooked greens (winter spinach or similar) and rice.  After trekking this would be on continuous refill until we could take no more and would wave away the 3rd or 4th load.  Breakfast would be millet based chapatti or Tibetan bread with an omelette or boiled eggs.  Porridge was also readily available.  One of the evening highlights was the fresh popcorn treat served while chatting with the team members or playing Uno. The local Ang Sherpa rules, obviously applied and it was highlight to watch each other getting so animated over the fall of the cards.  The corn was recently harvested and we had seen it drying in the sun on paved areas or on leaf matting.    

Traditional farewell’s and blessings involved red powder to the forehead and a garland of flowers or cloth sashes around the neck. The local people were very grateful and the mother groups (they were also One highlight was the driving force behind many of the local projects like water purification set up, school fundraising, getting community word out for our testing days, etc) organised our send off. Many of the community leaders and nearby families would come to say thank you, give blessings, take photo’s while waving us off.   It was very humbling, and an experience to be extremely grateful for. 

A very special thank you was given Ghandruk.  We had just completed 9 hours of testing, of nearly 100 patients, we had packed up, had dinner and were all about to head to bed when the mothers association came to put on thank you cultural show.  We were all a bit shattered and were in fear of cliché tourist show, but it was genuine and heartfelt performance and one of the highlights of the trip.  The small troupe of about 15 women plus few of the kids (on their first day of school holidays) started the performance.  Then more of the community joined in to say thank you, and dance with friends, relatives and us.  Most of the faces were familiar, as we had tested many of them during the day.  We saw the lady with special needs and severe vision loss that we had examined earlier, join her family and us to dance and sing.  This lady I had diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic retinal dystrophy that still unfortunately has no treatment, but she and her family had answers for first time about what prognosis and eyesight problem was.  The kids were enjoying playing the drums (some were amazingly good) but now the older brothers, fathers and uncles had finished with duties around the guesthouses decided that they needed to show the kids they still could play and took over the drum playing.  Soon around 60 locals plus our team with the guides and porters were all involved.  The evening clouds had cleared and you could see the white capped mountains in the moonlight.   It was and great evening and we slept like logs that night. 

An unexpected treat for our guides and porters on the last day of hike was to go past some movie equipment being set up.  A little later we came upon front porch of guest house with famous Nepalese movie star, Saroj Khanal, having tea.  He welcomed the group and chatted with the guides and, asked about our aid program we had photos with some of the group, but our local Sherpa guide and Optometrist were the most keen to chat and get photos.   We may have to get out the movie when it is released in the middle of next year. 

The trip was a great experience. The pilot trip by Eyes4Everest resulted in us testing over 350 people, 95% never had eye test before, 127 pairs glasses dispensed, 39 people referred for surgery, about 25 of those for severe cataracts, 4 of 5 locations we tested had never had eye services delivered to before, and met some wonderful people from here and Nepal. 

It is an amazing region and if you like to hike then the mountains are well worth the trip.  These remote places are beautiful, the lodges are basic but comfortable, the people friendly and hardworking.  People still live a lot like they have been for hundreds of years with hand harvested crops, but with the addition of many high tech modern world things like solar power for battery storage, water purification stations, mobile phone communication, yet the steepest of the terrain meant there are still no roads, vehicles or mechanised farming.  Hopefully, access to health care will be something that may be improved in the future. 

People have asked if I would do it again and while it was great experience it would be hard to leave my wife and kids for nearly 4 weeks again.  So perhaps when kids are older or if a trip with much shorter timelines came up then it would be a great thing to be able to help so many and see such amazing places again.



November 17, 2017 | Mitch Hancock

To deal with the small paths, steep inclines, large distances and altitude I spent a great deal of time researching the right gear and was super pleased with myself. Although I must admit I spent most of the walk on the ground, not sure how that happened! Chaffing was a concern because of the back to back days of non-stop walking, fortunately this was not an issue that required any attending while on the move, otherwise the others may have been blinded for the reaming of their lives. Despite all of my planning and preparation I still fell short, of course, I had to buy some hiking poles and more t-shirts, that came in very handy. On my journey up, across and down the Annapurna Region we experienced bitterly cold and extremely warm conditions and we really did need to prepare for luckily I mostly had, although the few newer pieces made me very grateful.

It was really important to have all the eye testing equipment fully charged and ready to go every morning before starting the day, and through this process discovered that numerous differences in power sockets needing a variety of adapters. This was hard because trying to plug and find the correct adapter in the bottom of a bag somewhere beneath, the non-chaffable underwear. The amazing porters kept us on time ensuring that we arrived at our destinations safely with all of equipment intact. In transit we had opportunities to hear a little of the individuals lives of these amazing men and to be in awe of their strength, stamina and agility.


Recent Posts

January 10, 2018
How's your Macula?
December 27, 2017
Sun versus Your Eyes
November 17, 2017


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